My name is Ray, though I often go by musicalman online. I am a blind musician who is also a tech geek and enjoys working with retro sound chips. I have a dash of Aspergers which greatly intensifies and focuses my primary interests and makes me somewhat more reclusive than most people. But people here don't seem to mind my presence :).
My interest in music started early. When I was 2, I began messing with toy keyboards and organs. When I was 4 I started taking piano lessons with a teacher who was mostly rock/jazz/pop oriented, which is where I learned a lot of basic music theory. When I was 10 I moved to taking classical piano lessons, though I didn't find those as enjoyable.
Until I was a teenager I had very little exposure to electronic music or the technology that created it. I was always fascinated with it and wanted to know more, though. At one point, I decided I might as well pursue this interest because I felt that studying piano, while fulfilling in many ways, wasn't my true passion. Besides, I didn't really want to be known as a famous blind piano player.
Now I'm in my 20s, and my interests in music technology are as strong as ever. I currently use synthesizers to make most of my music, and my piano and now keyboard skills help me greatly. I still take occasional lessons but have self-taught a lot of what I know, especially when it comes to the electronic side of things. I also enjoy transcribing music, and I probably like doing that even more because the music itself is already written and all I have to do is try to imitate it as accurately as I can. All of my music is done by ear; I never learned how to read sheet music of any kind. I recently went to York College of Pennsylvania where I graduated in May 2016 with a Masters degree in Music Industry and Recording Technology.
I've also taken a great interest in sound design and recording especially in a musical context. My upbringing with strictly acoustic music has never left me, though, and so my creative ideas always stem around making more acoustic things with a ton of electronic influences thrown in. My tastes in music range from classical to chiptune to metal, and anything in between. I like instrumental music more though. I could never really identify with lyrics, and thus music that relies on lyrics to sustain it is dull to me. I also cannot follow experimental music well since it is often unfamiliar and unpredictable, and I find that difficult to enjoy.
I enjoy learning about video games, though I can't play most of them. I've always wondered how video games make their unique sounds. For years, it has been my dream to put myself in a video game music composer's shoes and work with the sound chips they would've had to use during the 80s and 90s. That dream is becoming a reality. The Snes has always been one of my favorite video game sound systems because it straddles that line between real music and synthesized music. When I discovered AddmusicK (a tool that allows one to insert custom music into SMW), I became very excited, as I found it had considerable power. It took me a few months to become familiar enough with it to be comfortable using it, but when I reached that point, I eventually figured out what SMWC was and made an account in 2016. Ever since then, I've been helping out in the custom music section.
I don't have much of a real life outside of what I just described above though. So I still need to work on that. Lol